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Review of surgical hubs and CDCs needed to end patient backlog – report



A new report from a UK medtech coalition has called for a full review into the performance of surgical hubs and diagnostic centres to end regional variation in their performance and work through the backlog of 7.5 million patients faster.

As of September this year, NHS England had 94 operational elective surgical hubs, which have delivered 10,253 elective procedures and 41,067 outpatient appointments.

This is alongside 152 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) that have delivered 4.2 million tests, checks and scans ranging across 61 individual diagnostic procedures.

Following an investigation into the 42 Integrated Care Systems responsible for managing these centres, the Medical Technology Group has argued that better data collection, best practice sharing, clinical oversight and support for medical technologies could improve their performance and avoid regional variation.

Chair of the MTG, Barbara Harpham, said: “Since the pandemic, community diagnostic centres and surgical hubs have emerged as a vital part of our NHS, easing pressure on hospitals and helping to work through the backlog of elective care.

“Their potential to go further by utilising the latest medical technology and innovation should now be a priority.

“At present a sizable number of ICSs could be doing more to review their performance in line with best practice, using the latest technology, and adopting innovative new practices found in high performance regions of the NHS.”

The MTG investigation revealed that:

  • 44 per cent of ICSs that responded indicated they actively review their surgical hubs to ensure efficiency
  • 38 per cent indicated that decisions over the creation of local surgical hubs were led by clinical decision making
  • Just seven (20 per cent) of ICSs that responded stated that they have attempted to learn from best practice in other ICSs when planning for their surgical hubs
  • Just two ICSs properly consulted their patient populations on the procedures and equipment used in surgical hubs
  • 72 per cent of CDCs involved the public or patients in some capacity in their establishment
  • Four ICSs (14 per cent) used organisations such as Healthwatch to provide patient engagement and consultation. Four (14 per cent) did not consult patients at all.

In its report, ‘Tackling the Elective Backlog’, MTG is calling for a comprehensive review of performance, success, failures, and cost-effectiveness to ensure that the latest medical technology and best practice is being utilised in every CDC and surgical hub across the country.

Harpham added: “We must ensure that we have a full and accurate understanding of such a pivotal and increasingly important part of our NHS with regards to performance, progress and innovation.

“Every patient who uses these services should have access to the best possible medical technology and innovation currently being used on the NHS.”

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